Few things bring more joy to an individual or family’s life than their household pet. In fact, one study by the Insurance Information Institute found that approximately 70% of US households own at least one pet. Additionally, during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the research concluded that nearly one in three Americans adopted a pet, but almost three-quarters of animal owners do not have pet insurance.
With animal care being top of mind for many animal lovers, we sat down with Meghan Wood, VMD, Hospital Director at Pinnacle Veterinary Specialists, to learn more about the importance of finding the correct care when our pets get sick or injured.
GMG Insurance: What is your ‘why’ – Why did you get into this business?
Meghan Wood: I knew I wanted to be a veterinarian since the age of 3 or 4. I enjoyed animals so much as a child that one year when I was little, my mother asked who I wanted to invite to my birthday party, and I replied with a list of only the neighborhood dogs!
How was your experience working through COVID?
During COVID we had an explosion of pet care needs while dealing with a reduced number of nurses and support staff. It certainly made it challenging to take care of as many incoming patients as we had wanted. My advice to any pet owner is to keep several emergency hospital’s phone numbers just in case. All veterinary hospitals have been exceeding their care capacity since the start of COVID.
In your line of work, animal safety is so important. How do you ensure that an animal is getting the highest quality care while at Pinnacle Vet?
The employees of Pinnacle Vet are here for their love of animals. We deeply care about our patients and the quality of care we deliver to them. We work hard to utilize Fear FreeTM strategies with our patients and recognize that every patient is an individual with their own personality and their own story. Our team works hard to tailor the care to the needs of each individual patient. We enjoy getting to know their personalities and quirks. It is exciting for us when we feel we have succeeded in decreasing a patient’s stress during their hospital stay.
What would be an example of a Fear Free tactic?
One example is our cat only ward. To make cats feel comfortable, a section of our building has dim lights, we play a YouTube cat channel with birds chirping in the background, and have pheromone spray to help reduce a cat’s stress while in our care.
What advice do you have for someone who might be considering becoming a pet owner?
The most important thing to understand is the commitment it takes to care for a pet. This includes anything from feeding to walking. But it also includes the emotional commitment. It can be difficult to have a pet if you have a busy lifestyle.
And when it comes to the pet’s healthcare, a lot of people are surprised by the costs of care. That sticker shock could be the deciding factor between an animal receiving the proper care or not.
One way to avoid costly vet bills is through pet insurance. It is an underutilized resource in the US and many pet owners are not aware it exists until after their pet has a serious problem. A potential pet owner should consider either setting money aside for medical emergencies or consider pet insurance.
As it begins to get warmer, what should pet owners keep in mind to keep their pets safe?
Many pets are heat sensitive just like humans. So, taking your dog for a long jog when they haven’t been out for extended periods of time because of the colder weather could cause injury or pain.
We also typically see an increase in bite wounds from off leash dogs as the weather gets warmer. This spring and summer has the potential to be worse because many of our pets haven’t had the opportunity to socialize with other humans or animals because of the cold weather and COVID. Your dog might need to be retrained in socialization skills to avoid interdog aggression.
Your website says that you “deliver the pinnacle of care to every hospital visitor, whether they come in on two legs or four.” How do you deliver a memorable experience to visitors needing your team’s services?
It starts with the people we hire. We have three rules that all employees must follow: Be kind, Be fair, and Be Truthful.
Kind is first because it’s the most important. 70% of our nurses are certified, and 10% have a veterinarian specialization. As an organization, we can teach our employees the technical aspects of pet care, but we must hire people who show up and are kind to our patients, to our clients, and to each other.
What’s the best way for someone to learn more about you or Pinnacle Veterinary Specialists?
account. We love to showcase our workplace culture, and how the animals are being treated. One recent example that I enjoyed was a set of photos of a dog who recently came in for back surgery. We were able to post photos of the recovery process which included TV time and rotisserie chicken!
Another great example was Zoe. Zoe came in for a treatment and her owner feared that Zoe would miss her birthday. After the procedure, we were able to get Zoe home in time to celebrate her birthday. Zoe’s owner shared with us a photo of Zoe wearing her birthday hat.
These types of stories remind us of why we do what we do.
Thank you Meghan and your team for keeping our favorite furry family members healthy! For more information:
Pinnacle Veterinary Specialists
600 Evergreen Drive
Glen Mills, PA 19342
**Photos come from the Pinnacle Veterinary Specialist Instagram page. See more great shots here!
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